Top Democrat is pushing to subpoena Jared Kushner over his use of private email

 

  • Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wants committee chairman Trey Gowdy to push for Jared Kushner to turn over documents related to his use of private email.
  • Cummings' Monday letter is his second in the span of a few days asking Gowdy to turn up the heat on the probe.
  • The letters came after Cummings had requested the documents from Kushner in September.


Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland is pushing House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy to subpoena White House senior adviser Jared Kushner for documents related to his use of private email while serving in the White House.

In a letter to Gowdy sent Monday, Cummings, the ranking member on the committee, asked the South Carolina Republican to either join his September request to Kushner asking for such documents or "allow committee members to vote on a motion to issue a subpoena to compel Mr. Kushner to produce the requested documents."

Cummings sent a letter to Kushner in September asking for him to preserve official records of his emails and provide the committee with email addresses for any private account he used to conduct official business as well as a list of emails he'd sent or received on those accounts pertaining to official business. On Friday, Cummings wrote to Gowdy asking that he either demand "full compliance" from the White House on a separate, email-related request he made to White House counsel Donald McGahn, or allow for the committee to vote on subpoenaing the White House for documents.

27 PHOTOS
Jared Kushner with Donald Trump through the years
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Jared Kushner with Donald Trump through the years
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner attend Quest and Q Magazines Host Ivanka Trump Book Party at Trump Tower on October 14, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the COMEDY CENTRAL Roast of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: (L-R) Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Bonnie Brooks and Ivana Trump attend LORD & TAYLOR Launches IVANKA TRUMP's Spring 2012 Collection at Lord & Taylor on March 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 9: Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Chiu-Ti Jansen, Jared Kushner attend YUE MAGAZINE Gala Launch Party Hosted by JARED KUSHNER & CHIU-TI JANSEN at the Atrium at Trump Towers on May 09, 2012 in New York City (Photo by- MIREYA ACIERTO/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 8: Donald Trump and Jared Kushner attend the The New York Observer- Masters of Real Estate at The Metropolitan Club on November 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: (L-R) Donald Trump, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Jared Kushner attend The New York Observer 25th Anniversary at Four Seasons Restaurant on March 14, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 1: (L-R) Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Lara Spencer and David Haffenreffer attend The New York Observer's New Look Hosted by Jared Kushner and Joseph Meyer at Casa Lever on April 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Eric Trump, Lara Yunaska Trump, Donald Trump, Barron Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon Trump, Kai Madison Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald John Trump III, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Tiffany Trump pose for photos on stage after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally at Concord High School with his daughter Ivanka Trump, and son in law Jared Kushner in Concord, NH on January 18, 2016. (Photo by Rick Friedman/rickfriedman.com/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 16: (L to R) Newly selected vice presidential running mate Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner and Vanessa Trump stand on stage at the end of an event at the Hilton Midtown Hotel, July 16, 2016 in New York City. On Friday, Trump announced on Twitter that he chose Pence to be his running mate. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
American real estate developer and presidential candidate Donald Trump (center) greets family members on stage during the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016. Pictured are, from left, daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, Trump, his wife, Melania, and son, Barron. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 12: GOP nominee Donald Trump, points to the crowd after accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday July 21, 2016. Behind Trump from left are daughter Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, daughter in law Vanessa Trump, and son Donald Trump, Jr. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (C) is joined on stage by his family (L-R) Lara Yunaska, Eric Trump, Vannessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump during a campaign rally at the SNHU Arena November 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. With less than 24 hours until Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: President-elect Donald Trump embraces son in law Jared Kushner (R), as his daughter Ivanka Trump, (L), stands nearby, after his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 1: President-elect Donald Trump and Jared Kushner take a tour of Carrier Corporation in Indianapolis, IN on Thursday, Dec. 01, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, as he is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family while he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. From left are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner after the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn (L) and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (R) listen to U.S. President Donald Trump deliver opening remarks during a meeting with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Business leaders included Elon Musk of SpaceX, Mark Sutton of International Paper, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical, Mario Longhi of US Steel, Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, Wendell Weeks of Corning, Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson, Michael Dell of Dell Technologies and others. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (L) and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly (R) listen while US President Donald Trump puts his papers away at the beginning of a meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: The name place card for White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, who is also the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, sits on the table before a meeting about cyber security in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Citing the hack of computers at the Democratic National Committee by Russia, Trump said that the private and public sectors must do more to prevent and protect against cyber attacks. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Trump, listens to President Trump during a listening session with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 3: President Donald Trump talks with IBM CEO Ginny Rometty, left, and adviser Jared Kushner before speaking to business leaders during a strategy and policy forum in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Friday, Feb. 03, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump arrives alongside Vice President Mike Pence (C) and White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (R) during a meeting with manufacturing CEOs in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC, February 23, 2017. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 15: U.S. President Donald Trump waves while walking to a waiting Marine One helicopter with son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner while departing the White House on March 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to travel to Michigan and Tennessee today. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (3rdL), White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (4thL), US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (2ndL) and Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (hidden) take part in a bilateral meeting in Villa Taverna, the US ambassador's residence, in Rome on May 24, 2017. After a private audience wit Pope Francis early in the morning Trump's family will fly to Brussels this afternoon for meetings with EU and NATO officials before returning to Italy for the G7 summit in Sicily on May 26-27. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) listen to Apple CEO Tim Cook (C) during an American Technology Council roundtable at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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In both letters, Cummings said that White House lawyers told committee staffers during a meeting last week that "several" Trump administration officials used private email accounts to conduct government business, which is in violation of the Presidential Records Act. Cummings said the lawyers, deputy counsel Stefan Passantino, deputy counsel Uttam Dhillon, and associate counsel Daniel Epstein, refused to name the officials.

Referencing his initial letter to Kushner, Cummings said he "explicitly directed" the senior adviser, who is also President Donald Trump's son-in-law, to preserve his email records and take "reasonable steps to prevent the 'relocation' of those email records."

Cummings cited reports that both Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Kushner's wife and an assistant to the president, re-routed their personal email accounts to Trump Organization computers less than two days after Cummings' request was sent.

"It was unclear why they would transfer these accounts to the Trump Organization, which they claimed previously to have halted all business with in order to avoid conflicts of interest," he said.

Cummings added that when the White House lawyers were asked about whether Kushner was in compliance with the Presidential Records Act, they said, "You should talk to Mr. Kushner's counsel about that."

"In light of the statement from the White House that the committee should obtain this information directly from Mr. Kushner and his attorneys, I am writing today to urge you to reverse your current course of action and join my requests for documents and a briefing," Cummings wrote in the Monday letter. "If you decline, then I believe committee members should have the opportunity to debate and vote on a motion to issue subpoenas to compel Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump to produce these documents."

"If the committee is going to conduct a credible investigation into the use of private email by President Trump’s top aides, we cannot allow lawyers representing the White House and the Kushners to play off each other to withhold documents and evade congressional scrutiny."

24 PHOTOS
Members of the Kushner family
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Members of the Kushner family
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner attend LORD & TAYLOR Launches IVANKA TRUMP's Spring 2012 Collection at Lord & Taylor on March 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Airport on May 23, 2017. Donald Trump arrived in Rome for a high-profile meeting with Pope Francis in what was his first official trip to Europe since becoming US President. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner take part in a bilateral meeting with Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (not seen) in Villa Taverna, the US ambassador's residence, in Rome on May 24, 2017. After a private audience wit Pope Francis early in the morning Trump's family will fly to Brussels this afternoon for meetings with EU and NATO officials before returning to Italy for the G7 summit in Sicily on May 26-27. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Ivanka Trump, with her husband Jared Kushner and their children, depart after her father President Donald Trump formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 1: (L-R) Josh Kushner, Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner attend The New York Observer's New Look Hosted by Jared Kushner and Joseph Meyer at Casa Lever on April 1, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - AUGUST 18: Charles Kushner (C) wades though the media with his legal team and wife to the U.S. District Courthouse August 18, 2004 in Newark, New Jersey. Kushner, a New Jersey developer and a major campaign contributors to Democrats including embattled Gov. Jim McGreevey, is expected to plead guilty to federal charges that he hired a prostitute to try to silence a witness in a federal investigation. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Frank Lautenberg, Bill Clinton, Bruce S. Schonbraun, Charles Kushner (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - JUNE 14: (L-R) Charles Collier, Arianna Huffington and Jared Kushner attend AMC Hosts a Special Preview and Discussion of Their Provocative New Series 'MAD MEN' at Michael's on June 14, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Charles E. Garner II, Jared Kushner, Kenneth Caplan, Keith B. Gelb, Jonathan L. Mechanic and Robert G. Stuckey attend Commercial Observer Masters of Real Estate 2013 at The Metropolitan Club on October 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilir Bajraktari/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 3: (L-R) Jared Kushner, Seryl Kushner and Joshua Kushner attend 2014 Library Lions Gala at The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on November 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J Grassi/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 3: (L-R) Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Seryl Kushner and Joshua Kushner attend 2014 Library Lions Gala at The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on November 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J Grassi/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump (C) and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (R) listen to the US president delivering a speech during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, commemorating the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II, on May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 4: (L-R) Josh Kushner, Jared Kushner, Barry Diller and Wendi Murdoch attend FOUNDERS CLUB New York & BARRY DILLER welcome TIM ARMSTRONG & JON MILLER at Roof Garden on June 4, 2008 in New York. (Photo by DAVID X PRUTTING/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump walk off Air Force One with their children at Palm Beach International airport as they prepare to spend part of the weekend together with her father President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago resort on February 10, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida. President Trump is hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and are scheduled to get in a game of golf as well as discuss trade issues. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: (L-R) Josh Raffel, Jared Kushner and Matthew Hiltzik attend The New York Observer 25th Anniversary at Four Seasons Restaurant on March 14, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 1: (L-R) Anthony Marx, Jared Kushner, Joseph Meyer and Josh Kushner attend The New York Observer's New Look Hosted by Jared Kushner and Joseph Meyer at Casa Lever on April 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, senior adviser to Trump, and their children walk off Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida as they arrive to spend the weekend at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on February 10, 2017 with Japanese Peime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 30: (L-R) Josh Kushner, Wendi Murdoch, Dasha Zhukova and Jonathan Yeo attend the Louis Vuitton Art.sy Beachside Barbecue, hosted by Carter Cleveland, Wendi Murdoch and Dasha Zhukova at Soho Beach House Miami on November 30, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for ART.sy)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner looks on during a meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam in the Cabinet Room of the White House, on May 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to US President arrives with the delegation of President of United States of America Donald Trump and Wife Melania Trump for a meeting with Pope Francis, on May 22, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by (Photo by Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend an audience with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. The President Trump will return on Italy on Friday attending the Group of 7 Summit in Sicily. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: (L-R) Charles Kushner, Seryl Kushner and Jared Kushner attend Commercial Observer Presents: Wired City: The Future of The NYC Tenant at 666 5th Avenue on November 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilir Bajraktari/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner attend the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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The latest push comes more than a month after Politico reported Kushner set up a private email account in December and used it since to discuss official government business with fellow administration officials.

Some of those officials included former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and National Economic Council chairman Gary Cohn.

Though Kushner's lawyer said the adviser also "uses his White House email address to conduct White House business," he admitted that Kushner had utilized a personal email account to discuss government business.

"Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account," the lawyer said. "These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address."

"Kushner has adhered to government record-keeping requirements by forwarding all the emails to his account," the lawyer added.

In addressing last week's letter from Cummings, Gowdy said the "assertion that the White House has not cooperated is false."

"Our investigation into private email use for official business is government-wide and not about one entity," he said in a statement provided to Business Insider. "The committee has been looking at the use of private email for years. I’m glad my Democrat colleagues now acknowledge the severity of the issue. The White House provided a briefing this week to share specific details on all of our outstanding questions and committed to follow up at the conclusion of an ongoing investigation."

"Allegations that we have completed our engagement with the White House on this issue are absurd," he continued. "As recently as this morning I was on the phone with a cabinet-level official to ensure their full compliance. We need the documents — not the drama."

In a Friday letter to the White House, Gowdy wrote that he was aware the administration was conducting a review of any possible noncompliance with federal record-keeping laws, adding that the committee would follow up on its initial request once that review was completed.

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SEE ALSO: Top Democrat is pushing to turn up the heat on Jared Kushner and White House over private email use

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